Poor menstrual hygiene caused by a lack of education, persisting taboos and stigma, limited access to hygienic menstrual products and poor sanitation infrastructure undermines the educational opportunities, health and overall social status of women and girls around the world. As a result, millions of women and girls are prevented from reaching their full potential.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global advocacy platform that brings together non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual health and hygiene More specifically, Menstrual Hygiene Day:
- breaks the silence, raises awareness and changes negative social norms around menstrual health and hygeine, and
- engages decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyze action for menstrual health and hygeine, at global, national and local levels.
Menstrual Hygiene Day has grown tremendously since it was first celebrated in 2014. The goal in celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day? That by 2030, it is possible to create a world where no one is held back because they menstruate.
Gulfcoast Girl Scout Faith Chaney recognized a need in her community for menstrual health advocacy. She dedicated over 80 hours to her project, “Periods Aren’t Taboo,” to help positively impact the lives of girls and women living and working in her community.
Recognizing the issue of period stigma and the inaccessibility of period products in schools, Faith began advocating for the installation of feminine hygiene products in school classrooms within her high school. Faith hosted a women’s health exposition to spread knowledge about women’s health, bodies, and periods.
What really inspired her to pursue this project was “the horror stories of [myself and] other girls in my school and the times they forgot their feminine products.”
She collaborated with her school’s leadership to arrange for the installation of feminine hygiene dispensers in classrooms, and enlisted the help of a student-led organization to ensure that the dispensers remain stocked with free and accessible feminine hygiene products in years to come. Following the women’s health exposition, Faith felt confident that she achieved her goal after witnessing her attendees open up comfortably about women’s health.
“Because of this project, I learned that I could make hard decisions… I also learned that I could overcome my social fears, which I usually struggle with when I feel truly passionate about a topic.”
Faith earned the Girl Scout Gold Award in March 2023.
She has been a Girl Scout for the past 13 years, and previous earned her Bronze Award and Silver Award. “My previous Girl Scout experiences, such as earning my Silver and Bronze Award helped [me] to learn resilience. While other previous community service projects taught me how to muster up support from my community.”
Faith enjoys theatre, crafting, and working in youth programs. She comes from a large family full of cousins, supportive aunts and uncles, and lives with her mom, dad, sister, and brother. She plans to go to Rollins College in the fall.
The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges the power behind each Gold Award Girl Scout’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. Through earning the Gold Award, Girl Scouts become innovative problem solvers, empathetic leaders, confident public speakers, and focused project managers. They learn resourcefulness, tenacity, and decision-making skills, giving them an edge personally and professionally.
By earning their Gold Awards, these young women have distinguished themselves as true community leaders and change-makers who have made a meaningful and sustainable difference in the world. Their accomplishments reflect leadership and social responsibility that set them apart from their peers.
“Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and doers who take ‘make the world a better place’ to the next level,” said GSGCF CEO Mary Anne Servian. “These girls tackled issues that are important to them and their communities, and we congratulate them on this momentous accomplishment.”
According to recent research, Gold Award Girl Scouts are more likely to fill leadership roles at work and in their personal lives and are more civically engaged than their non-Girl Scout peers. Eighty-five percent of Gold Award Girl Scouts say that earning their Gold Award gave them skills to succeed in their daily lives, and eighty-seven percent say it gave them skills to help them succeed professionally.
As a bonus, the Gold Award opens doors to a variety of scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, strong networking and amazing career opportunities, and much more. About 4,000 Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award every year, placing Faith among a prestigious community of change-makers who have achieved this honor. Since 1916, over 160,000 Girl Scouts have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.